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COVID-19 Business Update

COVID-19 Business Update

COVID-19 Business Update
WRITTEN BY
Nigel Ward
Nigel Ward
CEO and Director

COVID-19 Business Update


This alert answers some important questions we have received:

  • What changes have been introduced that have impacted workplaces since last weekend?
  • How can employees get government assistance if their hours have been cut or they have been stood down?
  • If required to isolate by NSW Health, can an employee get any government assistance?

Q: I understand Blacktown and Cumberland have new restrictions?

Yes. The Blacktown and Cumberland local government areas have now been added to Liverpool, Canterbury-Bankstown and Fairfield LGAs from Saturday 24 July.
This means that if an employee lives in one of these LGAs they can only leave the LGA and go to work outside the LGA if:
  • the business they work in is allowed to be open
  • the employee cannot reasonably work from home
  • the employee is an authorised worker.

Q: Which businesses are allowed to be open? 

A business is allowed to be open unless it has been ‘closed’ by the Government Health Orders.
Businesses that have been closed are in retail, construction and residential repairs, maintenance and services.

RETAIL: Details are available here: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/greater-sydney#closure-of-retail-businesses.

CONSTRUCTION: Details are available here: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/greater-sydney#construction-activity-pause.

CRITICAL REPAIRS, MAINTENANCE AND CLEANING: Restrictions apply to services provided to residential premises in Greater Sydney. Full details here: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/greater-sydney#renovations-repairs-maintenance-and-cleaning.

Q: Who are “authorised workers”?

You can find out if your employees are “authorised workers” by going to: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/authorised-workers.

Q: If an employee lives in the Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Fairfield, Cumberland or Blacktown LGA can they still go to work inside their LGA?

If an employee lives in the Blacktown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield or Liverpool local government areas, and they cannot work from home and their workplace is still open, they can go to work if it is within the local government area in which they live.

Q: I have heard that some workers must get a COVID test every 72 hours, who does this apply to?

Authorised workers in Fairfield LGA

If any employee leaves the Fairfield local government area for work which must be as an authorised worker, they need to have a COVID-19 test once every 72 hours (3 days).
The employee can go to a COVID-19 testing clinic near their home or work. 

Also

Aged Care or Health Worker in Canterbury-Bankstown LGA

From the beginning of 23 July, if an employee lives in or is staying in the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area but they work outside this area, they must have a COVID-19 test once every 72 hours (3 days) in order to be allowed to go to work as an aged care or health worker.

An aged care worker is a person who works in a residential aged care facility.
A health care worker is a person who: 
  • provides health services within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1997 (whether public or private sector)
  • is a registered health practitioner
  • works for a registered health practitioner or
  • provides ancillary services to a health practitioner, such as cleaners, cooks and security providers at hospitals.
The employee can go to a COVID-19 testing clinic near their home or work. 
The rules governing this can be found at: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/greater-sydney-workers.

Q: When are employees who have had their hours reduced or been stood down without pay entitled to government assistance?

The Commonwealth government has also made available a ‘COVID-19 Disaster Payment’.

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment to employees is calculated as per the following periods:

Between 4-10 July 2021 and 11-17 July 2021, if an employee has:
  • lost less than 20 hours of work per week, they will receive $325 (if eligible); and
  • lost 20 hours of work or more per week, they will receive $500 (if eligible).
From 18 July 2021 onwards, if an employee has:
  • lost either between 8 and 20 hours of work per week and/or a full day of their usual hours per week, they will receive $375 for each relevant period (if eligible); and
  • lost 20 hours or more of work per week, they will receive $600 for each relevant period (if eligible).

Q: Which employees are eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment?

If an employee has lost income during the COVID-19 restrictions in ‘Greater Sydney’, from 4 July - 30 July 2021, they will be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment if they satisfy all of the following:
  • they are an Australian resident or hold an eligible working visa
  • they are 17 years or older
  • they are not getting an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay
  • they are not receiving a NSW Mandatory isolation payment or a state small business payment for the same period
  • they are unable to earn their usual income and do not have any pandemic-related paid leave entitlements (does not include annual leave, sick leave and long service leave)
  • the ‘liquid assets rule’ for the relevant event ie. less than $10,000 held in monies for the period from 4 - 10 July 2021 (however, following this period the liquid assets rule does not apply).

Q: Where can my employees go to claim the COVID-19 Disaster Payment?

Australian residents must claim online through their ‘myGov’ account linked to a ‘Centrelink online account’ that is available through the Services Australia website.

Eligible Working Visa Holders:  If an employee holds a visa that gives them the right to work in Australia, they must call Services Australia on 1800 22 66 to claim.

Q: Some of my employees have been told by NSW Health that they must isolate, can they receive a government payment for this?

These employees may be able to access the ‘Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment’ which is for employees in NSW who are unable to earn an income because:
  • they have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine by NSW Health
  • they are caring for someone with COVID-19.
This is different from the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

Q: How much is the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment?

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is a lump sum amount of $1,500 for each 14 day period.

Q: Who Is Eligible?

An employee may be eligible to receive the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if they have been directed by NSW Health to self-isolate or quarantine for any of the following reasons, the employee:
  • has COVID-19
  • has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19
  • cares for a child, 16 years or under who:
  • has COVID-19
  • has been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19; and/or
  • is caring for someone who has COVID-19.
In addition, the employee must also be:
  • at least 17 years old and live in NSW
  • an Australian resident or hold a visa that gives them the right to work in Australia
  • unable to earn an income
  • not getting income support payments
  • have no ‘appropriate leave entitlements’ (including personal leave and paid pandemic leave).

Q: How do employees get this Payment?

To access and claim the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, employees can either:
  • call Services Australia on 1800 22 66
  • complete the ‘Claim for Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment - New South Wales’ form on the Services Australia website.


We will continue to monitor the changes impacting businesses.  Should you require assistance, please get in touch with the team at info@ablawyers.com.au.

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